Picking a Company Name in Hong Kong and Why it’s Important


A Hong Kong company name reflects what your business stands for in the market.

This statement is so true that any firm, anywhere in the globe, must thoroughly and thoughtfully choose a Hong Kong business name.

Moreover, if you are planning to put up a business in Hong Kong, the first step is to choose a company name that will make your business stand out and that will be approved by the Companies Registry.

Read on to know more about tips on picking a company name in Hong Kong and why it’s important.

Table of Contents

Main guidelines in picking a company name in Hong Kong


Your selected company name must not be the same as any other name that appears in the company index maintained by the registry.

To ensure the uniqueness of your selected company name, you may do a search for a company name using the Cyber Search Centre of the Companies Registry.

Alternatively, you might want to use the Company Search Mobile Service to check the uniqueness of your preferred co name.

Main guidelines in picking a company name in Hong Kong

With the above company name search options,  you can quickly find out whether a business name is already listed or to be listed in the records kept by the registrar.

Note that a Hong Kong company name that is identical to or soon to be used by another entity is not allowed to be used.


You can register a company with an English name or a Chinese name. However, combining English letters or words with Chinese characters is not permitted.

Note that the articles of incorporation must contain the English and Chinese names in instances where the company name has both an English and Chinese name.

Hong Kong Skyscrapers

Also, if you prefer an Hong Kong English company name, make sure it ends with the word “Limited”, or if its a Chinese co name, it ends with “有限公司.”

Further, the Registrar of Companies requires non-Hong Kong companies that want to use both English and Chinese to furnish a certified translation.


The Companies Registry guidelines state that companies cannot use names that are objectionable, associated with a criminal offense, and contrary to the public interest.

So you can use a Chinese company name or an English name for as long as it merits the approval of the registrar.

Guide to most common company name restrictions

Government names

It is strictly prohibited to use a business name that may create the impression of an association with the government, such as the Central People’s Government.

Only upon proof of genuine connection with the government or any of its agencies will the Companies Registry allow the registration of such names.

For example, names that include terms, such as “authority”, “federation”, “bureau”, “government”, and “commission” are deemed associated with the government, hence are typically not allowed to be registered.

The company names described above require Companies Registry approval prior to registration.

You may want to consult the registrar of companies prior to filing for the registration of your Hong Kong Company name. In most instances, the registry will require you to submit a written request for approval to use the restricted name.

Name that is too similar to an existing name

The general rule is that the company name should be unique and is not in any way similar to a name that appears on the list of registered companies in Hong Kong.

Non-compliance to the similarity guideline may result in the disapproval of your company name application.

Similar to a company name under a name direction change

You will earn a higher chance of approval if you avoid a name that sounds very similar to the name of an existing business in Hong Kong.

This may mean modifying certain words to avoid a close similarity with registered names.

As per the Companies Ordinance, the registrar of companies in Hong Kong will mandate a change of business name if the name is found to be very similar to another company name. 

A simple company name search through the co search mobile service may help avoid name registration issues in the future.

Here are instances where a business name can be too similar to an existing name:

  • obvious phonetic and/or visual similarity, such that there is a minimal variation in the spelling of names
  • use of words  that denote grammatical difference but is not notable
  • integration of expressions that are generally taken as the same

Name change directives for shadow companies in Hong Kong

Shadow companies refer to business organizations incorporated in Hong Kong with names that are confusingly identical to popular brands and trademarks.

shadow companies in Hong Kong

The registration of shadow companies in Hong Kong is quite misleading to many consumers. For example, it gives an impression that the shadow company is a legitimate affiliate of a popular brand and trademarks.

Fortunately, the Hong Kong government has been actively seeking to end unethical business practices.

With the promulgation of Section 108 of the Companies Ordinance, the Registrar is authorized to act upon a Court order directing shadow companies to alter their names.

Section 108 demonstrates the efforts of the Hong Kong Court and Companies Register to protect trademarks, brand names, and intellectual property rights.

The shadow company shall be liable in case of continuing default despite a change name directive.

Note that company name registration does not necessarily indicate the automatic protection of your intellectual property.  

With that being said, the best way to protect your trademark and business in Hong Kong is to register your property rights at the Trade Marks Registry of the Intellectual Property Department.

This way, you can readily take action against possible violations of your trademark rights and propriety as a business owner.

Importance of company names verification at the Companies Registry

HK company name verification at the Companies Registry

You don’t want to go through the process of initial registration only to find out that your company name will be disapproved.

With a company search, you can see if your preferred company name is the same or closely resembles an existing company names in Hong Kong.

It helps to search your company name against the Companies Registry list guarantees its uniqueness, which merits a higher chance of approval. Corporate secretary financial can help a lot. 

Company name reservation

So you have chosen and checked that your new company name does not infringe other Hong Kong company names.

Your next step is to reserve your domestic name on the Companies registry’s list, so that other business owners who wish to register the same would see that it has already been taken.

Note that after having your new company listed at the Companies Registry, you are given a month to incorporate the business.

Registration of a foreign name in Hong Kong company

The Companies Registry requires a non-Hong Kong company to register within a month of its operation in Hong Kong time zone.  

In Hong Kong incorporated company, a corporate name refers to a business name listed in the registry by a non-Hong Kong company. A domestic name, on the other hand, is a non-Hong Kong  company in its country of origin.

Changing a Hong Kong company name after incorporation

There are some instances when after dealing with the Hong Kong company incorporation of their business, entrepreneurs want to change their registered company name.

This is presumably to have a company name that better reflects the nature of their Hong Kong business. 

So, guide – how can you change the name of your company after incorporation?

The initial step is for the company to pass a special resolution for the purpose of changing the name of the business.  Within 15 days, the notice of change of company name should be submitted for registration to the registrar as provided under section 107 (2) of the Companies Ordinance.

After the receipt of the notice of name change, the registrar will enter the new name in the index of company names. This is provided that the new name is not the same as a name that appears in the list kept by the Registrar.

Company name restoration

A company name that is restored to the registry after it was dissolved is restored using its registered company name before its dissolution.

However, the registrar may issue a directive to change the company name if in the opinion of the registrar it is very similar to a name that now appears in the Index Company names.


Why is my name in Hong Kong company disapproved?

Here are the likely reasons why your company name may not merit the registrar’s approval:

  • the exact company name has a matching record found at Companies Registrar’s index
  • using it amounts to committing a criminal offense
  • it is similar to a name of an incorporated body under an Ordinance
  • in the registrar’s opinion, the name constitutes a criminal offense and/or against the interest of the public

How do I conduct a company name search?

You can search a company names online through these links:

  • You can search the Cyber Search Centre of the Companies Registry at http://www.icris.cr.gov.hk/
  • You can also access the company search mobile service at http://www.mobile-cr.gov.hk/

You can also search through the registry’s Public Search Centre located at the 13th Fl, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway Hong Kong.

Can I choose any company name I want for my business?

Prior approval of the registrar is required before you can proceed with the registration of your business.

Am I allowed to use simplified Chinese characters in the Chinese company name of a domestic company?

You are not allowed to use simplified Chinese characters for your company name.

As per the guidelines, you are only allowed to use traditional Chinese characters for the Chinese name of a local business.

What are shadow companies?

Shadow companies are businesses incorporated in Hong Kong, whose names give a false impression of their association with popular brands.

Wrap Up

Do you need more help about how to pick a company name for your business in Hong Kong?

Feel free to contact us!

Our specialist at ReachTop KSHK will assist you with the selection and registration of your company name so that you can focus on other things that matter most to the growth of your business.

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All consultants are qualified Hong Kong company accountants and tax advisors.